Cardiff Friends of the Earth virtual film screening and panel discussion
Life dominated by a global pandemic is a drag, but it has also presented us with unexpected silver linings and opportunities.
The sudden drop in traffic has caused air quality to improve across Wales, with National Atmospheric Centre data showing significantly lower than normal nitrogen dioxide and small particle pollution levels after just seven days in lockdown. People are taking time out to step into nature and appreciate the now-audible birdsong, allowing us to forge deeper connections with the environment around us. And cities across the UK and Europe are considering the pandemic as a springboard for rapid change, with many planning to build green initiatives into post-lockdown city plans.
But it is a frustrating time for environmental activists. “Lockdown has brought campaigning to a grinding halt,” says Bryony Haynes from Cardiff Friends of the Earth https://www.foe.cymru/about-us a volunteer group that campaigns on local, regional and national environmental issues. “Organised group activities like tree planting, workshops, direct action, and protests are out of the question for the foreseeable future.”
Cardiff Council is incinerating all waste, including recycling, for the duration of the crisis and there’s nothing we can do about it. There is uncertainty about how the government will respond to the inevitable economic downturn. Will it begin to rely more on sustainable solutions or invest in fossil fuels and the aviation industry with renewed zeal?
“There’s not much we can do until the lockdown is lifted,” says Bryony, “so now might be a good opportunity to spend time informing ourselves, fuelling the fire that encourages us to call for change, and planning for a greener, more sustainable future in South Wales and beyond.”
That’s why Cardiff Friends of the Earth is organising a free online screening and panel discussion for The Story of Plastic, an explosive look at the global plastic pollution crisis.
The film takes a sweeping look at the man-made crisis of plastic pollution, the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Spanning three continents, The Story of Plastic http://storyofplastic.org/ illustrates the ongoing catastrophe: fields full of garbage, veritable mountains of trash, rivers and seas clogged with waste, and skies choked with the poisonous emissions from plastic production and processing.
Virtual attendees will receive a link to watch the film at home three days before on May 17th the panel discussion on May 20th, where plastic-free campaigners from across Wales will discuss the film’s key messages and how communities can take action.
Panellists include Friends of the Earth Campaigns and Development Manager Bleddyn Lake and grassroots activist Laura Sanderson, who swam 26km from a lake at the top of Snowdon to test the waters for microplastics.
“Although our lives may feel stationary at the moment, our fight for the protection of our local environment and the planet is still as important as ever,” says Bryony. “We believe that virtual mobilisation will empower us through this period, leaving us ready to take action in the very near future. And we hope that more people will join us in taking action across South Wales.”
Sign up to watch the film and attend the panel screening here. Places are capped at 50, so book your slot before they go.
Words: Betti Hunter